KENT, William
(b. ca. 1685, Bridlington, d. 1748, London)

Temple of Concord and Victory

c. 1748
Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Until the mid-eighteenth century, British architecture was wholly dominated by Palladianism. However, the supremacy of the Palladianism was on the wane in the second half of the century. The roughly simultaneous "discoveries" of both Greek Antiquity and the Middle Ages (the Gothic architecture) around the mid-eighteenth century brought with them a a basic, revolutionary change in historical perceptions of the time. When British architects and patrons now looked for a model for the design of their buildings, there was no longer a universally valid standard such as there had been in Palladianism up to the beginning of the eighteenth century. Now there were different styles of equal status from which one could choose.

In the park of Stowe in Buckinghamshire, a "Greek Valley" was created, presided over by a Greek temple containing a statue of Libertas Publica inside and the figure of Britannia on the tympanum. Although the structure is wholly modeled on antique models, they are not Greek models, which were not even known at the time, but in fact Roman, rather like the Maison Carrée in Nimes, which the client may have seen on his Grand Tour.

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